HOUSTON (AP) — Rescuers battling heavy downpours plucked hundreds of people from rising floodwaters left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, answering desperate calls for help all along the ravaged Texas coastline where at least two people were killed and up to 14 injured.

Anxiety ran high throughout the region between Corpus Christi and Houston because some of the most devastated areas were inaccessible to rescuers. And the forecast for days of steady rain threatened to inundate the region’s flat landscape, including Houston, with as much as 40 inches (100 centimeters).

Calls for water rescues swamped emergency workers early Sunday, the Houston Chronicle reported. Police evacuated two apartment complexes overnight in the Greenspoint neighborhood, rescuing more than 50 children from rising water.

“It breaks your heart,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said as he stood in waist-high water during a livestream post on Twitter. “But it’s Texas. We’ll get through it.”

In the island community of Port Aransas, population 3,800, officials were unable to fully survey the town because of “massive” damage. Police and heavy equipment had only made it into the northernmost street.

“I can tell you I have a very bad feeling and that’s about it,” said Mayor Charles Bujan, who had called for a mandatory evacuation but did not know how many heeded the order.

Some of the worst damage appeared to be in Rockport, a coastal city of about 10,000 that was directly in the storm’s path. The mayor said his community took a blow “right on the nose” that left “widespread devastation,” including homes, businesses and schools that were heavily damaged. Some structures were destroyed.

Rockport’s roads were a mess of toppled power poles. A trailer blocked much of one major intersection. Wood framing from ripped-apart houses was strewn along Route 35 on the town’s southern end.

Harvey’s relentless wind tore the metal sides off the high school gym and twisted the steel door frame of its auditorium.

“We’re still in the very infancy stage of getting this recovery started,” said Aransas County spokesman Larry Sinclair.

One person was killed in Aransas County when in a fire at home during the storm, county Judge C.H. “Burt” Mills Jr. said.

Another person — a woman who tried to get out of her vehicle in high water — died in flooding in Harris County, where Houston is located, , though authorities had not confirmed a cause of death, said Gary Norman, a spokesman for the Houston emergency operations center.

As many as 14 people suffered minor injuries, including slips and falls, scrapes and a broken leg, Mills said.

About 300,000 customers were without power statewide. Gov. Greg Abbott said it would probably be several days before electricity is restored.

Meanwhile, the storm was barely moving. Rainfall totals varied across the region, with Galveston receiving around 8 inches (20 centimeters), Houston 11 (28 centimeters) and Aransas 10 (25 centimeters). Tiny Austwell got 15 inches (38 centimeters).

In Houston, authorities pleaded with people not to leave their homes as a flood emergency was declared.

“The streets are treacherous,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

Elsewhere in the storm’s immediate aftermath, the Coast Guard had rescued 20 people from boats and barges in distress, said Capt. Tony Hahn, commander of the Corpus Christi sector.

The Corpus Christi port was closed with extensive damage. Because the city is the third-largest petrochemical port in the nation, the agency will be on the lookout for spills, Hahn said.

The fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade came ashore late Friday about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi as a mammoth Category 4 storm with 130 mph (209 kph) winds.

Harvey weakened to a tropical storm by midday Saturday.

By 7 a.m. Sunday, Harvey was centered about 65 miles southeast of San Antonio, with maximum sustained winds of about 45 mph (72.42 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center, which described the flooding as “catastrophic.”

The hurricane posed the first major emergency management test of President Donald Trump’s administration.

Trump met with his Cabinet and other senior administration officials to discuss the federal response to the damage and flooding, the White House said Saturday in a statement.

The president held a video conference from Camp David in which he instructed departments and agencies to “stay fully engaged and positioned to support his number one priority of saving lives,” the statement said.

Trump, who on Friday signed a federal disaster declaration for coastal counties, also reminded department heads that the full impact of the storm will not be apparent for days.

South of the city, about 4,500 inmates were evacuated from three state prisons in Brazoria County because the nearby Brazos River was rising.

The turbulent weather extended into southern Louisiana, where motorists were cautioned about the potential for high water, road hazards, high winds and tornadoes.

Harvey came ashore as the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in 13 years and the strongest to strike Texas since 1961’s Hurricane Carla, the most powerful Texas hurricane on record.

The storm’s approach sent tens of thousands of people fleeing inland.

Just hours before landfall, the governor and Houston leaders issued conflicting statements on evacuation.

The governor urged more people to flee, but Houston officials recommended no widespread evacuations, citing greater danger in having people on roads that could flood and the fact that the hurricane was not taking direct aim at the city.

The last Category 4 storm to hit the U.S. was Hurricane Charley in August 2004 in Florida.


Associated Press writers Juan Lozano and Nomaan Merchant in Houston; Tammy Webber in Chicago; David Phillip in Dickinson, Texas; and Jamie Stengle, David Warren and Claudia Lauer and in Dallas contributed to this report.

Comments (19)
  1. Everyone that lives in Harris county near Houston knows it doesnt take much for Buffalo Bayou to overflow and cause minor street flooding along it course. Most of these so-called rescues are taking place in the minority neighborhoods close to these flood ways. All the hype associated with this news report therefore is Fake News prompted by a fake media. Reported on by reporters standing in street flooding hoping to be the next Dan Rather! Its no wonder you news people nation wide are losing all of your credibility.

  2. Jack Frost says:

    The level of hype-hysteria about this perhaps “the real story”. Yes, there WILL be an unfortunate albeit realistic minor (well unless YOU are the victim) loss of life BUT realistic compares pretty favorably to a typical Thursday night in say Chicago.

    My friends and relatives in Houston are amazed by the reporting hype. Yes, it is raining. Yes there is water on SOME streets. It’s called “weather”…

    Texans are a resilient lot for the most part – this stuff IS EXPECTED if you choose to live on the coast. The FREQUENCY and SEVERITY is MUCH MUCH MUCH LESS than that Climate Guru Gore projected (OK, simply asserted as he knows ZIP about it).

    I hate to see our MSM give in to the Progressive Taliban, but hey they are comrades.

    Best wishes Texans – I know you can deal with this, always have, always will.

  3. Larry Jones says:

    The governor urged more people to flee, but Houston officials recommended no widespread evacuations, citing greater danger in having people on roads that could flood and the fact that the hurricane was not taking direct aim at the city.

    “… the fact that the hurricane was not taking direct aim at the city.”

    Ignorant jerks… the “second quadrant” which is what flooded Houston, is by far the worst area of a hurricane as to flooding. Another negro Democrat mayor.

    1. There you have it, Huston is a liberal run city…enough said

    2. You said it, another Chocolate City Mayor Nagin. And the morons listen to him instead of Governor Abbott. You can’t fix stupid.

  4. BA DeMonte says:

    Just curious why anyone would stay in a flood prone area when they knew days in advance that a hurricane was going to hit and dump 24+ inches of rain regardless of what the obviously ignorant Houston leadership was stating. You can bet they got out of harms way. Sure didn’t learn anything from Now Orleans blunder with Katrina.

  5. I hope all you liberals in Huston drown……get Antifa to help you now MOFO’s

  6. Surely this Hurricane is Trumps fault. All the Democrats will be anxiously awaiting to Trash our President when he publicly gives his condolences.

    Deplorables think Trump will deport immigrants and brown ppl from our country. They think he will get rid of Obamacare, which, ironically, will hurt most of clown car supporters. Under Obamacare, my previously unaffordable premium is now down to 90 dollars per month. My car insurance is down to 25 dollars per month (from Insurance Panda). My homeowners is $25/month too. Under Trump, expect inflation and massive price hikes across the board.

    This ship is sinking faster than Trump’s approval rating. Trump’s cover-up is getting smaller than his hands too. All these blind Trump supporters wanna do is complain about the media. Please, I’ve seen kids that whine less.

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